The Philadelphia public school district is being aggressively starved of resources by Governor Corbett and the Legislature, and its Broad-trained superintendent now proposes to shrink the district still farther to save money. He is offering parents a choice of converting to charter status or remaining in the district, where they cannot count on having a library, a school nurse, reasonable class sizes, the arts, basic supplies, or anything else. Thousands of teachers, school aides, nurses, social workers, and nurses have been laid off. This is reform-by-attrition. Last fall, a 12-year-old child died of an asthma attack in her public school in Philadelphia because there was no school nurse on duty that day, due to Corbett’s budget cuts.

Before Superintendent William Hite offers to turn more students over to charters, he should conduct an investigation of the charters and their records. Philadelphia was the first city to try a massive experiment in privatization in the early part of this century, an experiment that failed because the district schools outperformed the privately managed ones. Nearly a score of Philadelphia charters have been investigated by federal authorities for various kinds of misdeeds. What is their record? Who do they accept? Who do they refuse?

This is another sorry chapter in the ongoing privatization of American public education. A superintendent selected by an unelected board–a board appointed by the state–turning over more schools to private management.